"I love journalism because it gives me the opportunity to be a megaphone for communities that have historically been excluded from newsrooms. We must reflect the audience that we aim to impact. This is why I am proud to lead an organization whose staff and the young storytellers and creators we serve represent the diversity of this country and the global landscape at large."
CEO of YR Media
YR Media, formerly Youth Radio, is an award-winning national network of diverse young journalists and artists from underrepresented communities who create content for this generation.
What I love about being a journalist is making an impact every day. Whether it’s something small like making someone smile from something I said during a segment or providing someone with life saving information. It is such a great privilege to be able to connect with so many people on a daily basis. It is something I do not take for granted. I love what I do and I do it for the people watching every single day.
News Reporter, FOX6, Milwaukee, WI
“What I love about being a journalist is having the opportunity to learn new things every day. Furthermore, one of the responsibilities I enjoy and I take very seriously is having the power to be able to influence the lives of others and using that power for good.”
News Producer, Telemundo Chicago & Founding Member of the NAHJ Chicago Professional Chapter
She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Tyson began her entertainment career as a model when she was discovered by a fashion editor at Ebony magazine in the 1950s.
The iconic actress received an honorary Oscar in 2018 making her the first black woman to gain that distinction.
She was married to jazz legend Miles Davis for seven years from 1981 to 1988.
Your sister’s getting married! It’s a very surreal moment for you because you’ve been thick-as-thieves since childhood. Where you went, she went. Obviously, you absolutely hated having this yucky girl infiltrate the boy business you and your friends had to attend to. But before you knew it, she became your right hand and you, her protector. The lines between your friends and her friends somehow blurred along the way and groups of friends become family. A bond was formed, and secrets kept will be held for a lifetime.
Your emotions on her big day are oddly fatherly, passing her to another protector. Stories of this special day are sure to become mainstays at family gatherings in the same manner as the infamous childhood fables. And that’s exactly how you’ll live your sister's wedding — through stories and pictures. Unfortunately, you couldn’t take your place as a groomsman because the night before the nuptials, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and you had to board a plane missing your sister’s wedding. Yes, this actually happened in real life.
Making it to network news is the goal of many but often the demands are a trade-off. This is true on the local news level as well. As you know there’s a newscast on Christmas and Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving and Memorial Day and the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve and New
Years Day and Valentine’s Day and your wedding anniversary and your child’s graduation and when your friends and family come into town. Shall I continue?
Just request the day off someone is saying to themselves right now. I can almost hear the collective laugh from veteran journalists. Have you ever heard of a saying that starts “If it only were that easy…” you know the rest. And just wait until Sweeps. Those are blackout days for a lot of newsrooms meaning no one can take the day off. No one. Under any circumstances.
When my husband and I were dating, the going joke among his friends was that I didn’t really exist because I could never attend any events. If by chance I did make it, I had to leave early to
get enough sleep for my workday. I typically worked an overnight or early morning schedule. There’s a lot of industry marriages because of this. Not only due to scheduling but a lot of times
only other journalists understand and are willing to deal with the schedules and demands of the job. A lot of people only make week-to-week plans because they have no idea what their hours will be. And even when plans are set, breaking news can happen, and all bets are off.
The truth of the matter is, we all know that we’ll be working holidays. That’s no surprise. It’s part of the business. It’s what we signed up for. Especially if you’re the new kid on the block. That’s
not going to change. But I want you to take a moment and really understand what that entails.
Really think about the structure of your life and if starting work at 3 in the morning or 11 at night is practical. Finding a work/life balance will be crucial to your mental and physical health and can affect how well you perform your job. Simply working around it is one thing but accepting it as a reality and incorporating it into part of your life is another thing all together.
I’m not talking about one holiday. It will be most holidays most of the time. Your family will either have holiday dinner early, late, or on an alternate day depending on your schedule — if your family is supportive. The point is sacrifices are made that don’t just affect you. While you and your family are making these sacrifices you owe it to yourself, your family, and the viewers to show up and put your best foot forward. Do your best work even on holidays that are typically slow news days.
Tell the best stories that affect the most people and inspire others to act. If not, what are the sacrifices really for? Yes, on Christmas you have the yearly Salvation Army bell ringer story, the shopping stories, and holiday travel. If you’re at work simply because you’re scheduled to be there then yes, that is the story for you. But if you're truly making the sacrifice for the bigger purpose then you will find the story with real meaning. You will find that family whose story will reflect the season. Whichever season that might be.
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It’s simple to watch the news and say, I want to do that. I want to interview people. I want to be on TV. It makes sense. Everyone you see on TV is well put together and smart. It seems like a
pretty cool gig, right? It is! Truth time: whatever your current favorite television drama is, it pales in comparison to what goes on behind the scenes of a newscast. The dynamics of the newsroom and all its moving parts and varying positions and personalities is a melting pot that can oftentimes lead to tremendous blow-ups, mishaps, and disasters.
If you’ve inquired just a little bit about being a journalist you’ve probably heard that you must have thick skin. That is true. It’s true because of the factions of the job but it’s also true because of the people you’ll be working with. That part is typically left unsaid. It’s also a topic we’ll explore later. When I’m asked why I wanted to become a journalist my answer is always the same. “You have to be a little bit quirky to be a journalist and I’ve accepted my quirkiness a long time ago.”
The reality is, being a television anchor is more than reading a script. Being a reporter is more than holding a microphone and standing in front of a camera. Being a photographer is more than gathering video. Being a producer is more than stacking the show. Being a writer is actually more than just writing. Journalists are truth seekers. We are storytellers. We are fact finders. And while the finished product is polished and pretty, the path to getting there can sometimes be unpredictable. The audience is blissfully and naively unaware of the amount of work from various positions it takes to put on that 30-minute newscast. They certainly don’t know that the reporter’s live truck broke down 15 minutes before air so instead of viewing the interviews he spent the entire day working to pull together, you only saw video of the scene and the reporter talking. The all-day efforts of finding the family’s information, calling and coordinating the interview, driving to the location, conducting the interview, logging, writing, and editing the footage to put it together for a minute and a half-length was in vain for this newscast. You definitely didn’t see the portable step that shorter reporters use to project an image of average height on screen, or the multiple attempts it takes to get the pre-recorded tease correct or the expeditiousness a reporter employs to remove her lipstick after going live because she’s allergic to it.
You will find out quickly how you work under pressure when the press conference which is your lead story for the day starts 45 minutes late or essential equipment malfunctions right before or during the show. Your tenacity will be tested while waiting for an official to speak in extremely cold weather conditions or working outside in the heat as you warn others to stay indoors. Your composure will be tested as you speak to a mother on what will probably be the worst day of her life.
You will definitely feel the weight of your journalistic responsibility when your story essentially becomes the eulogy for a murder victim. There are the hang-ups, the door slams, the blatant lies and the cleverly written professional lies written by a highly paid spokesperson that your skills in research and art of interviewing will have to shuffle through because no matter how challenging the day, journalists get their job done. The story is told.
This is not a profession for the weary-hearted. There is a responsibility to value and uphold. A journalist must understand the gravity of information in all its forms and handle it with care. Your word must remain your bond. Journalists continue to preserve these core values as the world changes because fake news is a real thing and anyone with a phone can be a reporter or photographer. We pay our dues, work holidays, long hours, off hours too. The list goes on. But at the end of the day, we have the privilege of disseminating information. The information we give and the stories we tell — if done correctly — should compel the audience to act or use that information to better themselves, their community, or their general understanding of a subject. Not only do we deliver that, but we literally have a front row seat at history.
There’s a powerful image that I shared on my Instagram feed of a little boy holding a sign that read, “First they took the journalist...we don’t know what happened after that.”
Think on that for a few ticks then decide. Are you really about that JOURNOLIFE?
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